So how do we feed that sin nature or the negative part of ourselves?  Each of us feed in the same way and in different ways.  Even though we each have different temptations, there is “no temptation taken us, but such as is common to man.”   (  )   We are all in the same boat.  We all struggle; the struggle is the commonality in all.

The flesh has a name

Some of the sins listed in the Bible include:  lying/dishonesty, adultery/sexual sin, gossip/backbiting/slander, pride, covetousness/envy, greed, gluttony and much more.  Whatever your particular struggle, you probably feed it, without even meaning to or understanding what you do.  Maybe your ‘flesh’ is a habit, such as not taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually or otherwise.  Whether your fleshly shortcoming is something you do that you shouldn’t or something you don’t do that you should, all of us have something, or many somethings, that we struggle with on a daily basis.

Becoming aware

One of the first steps toward breaking these strongholds is awareness.  Ask God to show you where you are feeding or making provision for the flesh.  Ask yourself and be open when you see yourself doing it.  For some it will help to write it down, make a list or take an ‘inventory’.  For others, a trusted friend to talk with be accountable with can help.

I can’t help it.

Chances are you will find yourself saying or thinking, “But I can’t help it” as you give in once again to the flesh.  That is a clue that at that point, your flesh has been fed and has enough strength to chain you to him once again.  If you are a human being, you have been a part of the cycle of  feeding the need, giving in to the need, remorse, trying to white knuckle it and ‘give it up’ only to start all over again.  If you are a Christian, you have been freed from the chains of this bondage, but you probably have one or more areas where you live as if you are still in bondage.

It starts in the mind

Sin (and even the bad habit) always starts in the mind.  The thought flashes in, a memory of pleasure felt, an image is seen, or something else happens to bring the desire to the mind.  Next time we’ll talk about ways to stop the cycle, but for today’s post, let’s say you begin to dwell on it, think about it, imagine it, or relive it.  Soon it is like the elephant in the room.  You can’t seem to look anywhere else until you become consumed with the need to fulfil the lust of the flesh.  Then plans are made (sometimes unconsciously) to get the ‘need’ met.   Here we go back to the garbage in/garbage out saying.  When we continue to allow things into our minds/eyes/ears that tempt us, we will continue to have the problem.

The other side of the coin.

Suppose your problem is laziness.  You know supper needs done, but you want to watch your favorite Soap or take a nap.  This works the same way – your mind begins to dwell on the nap/Soap and all the reasons why you can put off starting supper.  You sit in front of your television set, intending to just watch for a bit; your eyes droop; you start to snore.   Then, with a jerk, you wake up and see that your spouse will be home in five mintues and supper hasn’t even been started.  This is when you go into remorse mode.  You will probably think up excuses (lies) to explain why you haven’t done this.  {No calls from feminists please – it’s just an example}  Then you may make it worse by calling the pizza guy or running to McDonalds to serve your family less-than-healthy food.  The point is that giving in to the flesh involves the things we do and the things we don’t do.

What’s your struggle?

Have you ever felt helpless in the struggle or as if you are the only one?

Do you feel shame and think others would judge you if they ever found out?

Do you find yourself ‘making provision for the flesh’?

What are some ways you have fed your flesh, wrong desires, bad habits?

Have you allowed garbage in?

Feel free to share your own struggles and ideas.  Are there other questions you think I should ask?   

To be continued….

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